A. has been showing a lot of interest in princesses lately. She talks about them and often says that she is a princess and rather than going by the name A., she will only respond to “Ola,” “Ola Snow White” or “Tinkerbell.” I was not surprised then when the loft was transformed into a castle. The children used large cushions to block in the walls of their castle and they played and played there, telling a story as the day and then the week went on.
So today I thought would likely continue along this path, a day like most, with ongoing themes of the children’s interests, as well as some new discoveries. It started out much like any other. As each child arrived their parents commented on how hard the rain was coming down, but the children were not fazed by this in any way and transitioned seamlessly into their play.
This morning they were focussed on building using a variety of blocks. I invited them, if they wanted, to share their ideas with me. A. said that she was making “a piano,” and lined up some rectangular blocks that looked like piano keys. R. explained that she was making “a sunset.” She stacked some round blocks to make a 3 dimensional sun and then used the rectangular blocks to create rays radiating out. C. and L. worked together, with great concentration, to make “a tall.” Beautiful ideas, I thought, and thanked them for sharing with me. I wondered about their ideas, what had inspired them today, where they had originated, if they came from their direct observations of the world around them, or if they were perhaps recreating something that had been shown to them through a picture in a book or maybe another builder?
As we moved toward transitioning outside, the children stood by the window watching in awe as the rain poured down, almost as if buckets were being dumped rather than rain drops falling. Their excitement mounted as we geared up, boots, muddy buddies, sweaters, hats and mitts. Out we went.
The children literally danced in the rain, jumped, leaped and squealed. It was pretty exciting being out there; we could feel the power of the rain as it poured down, hitting and splattering at our hoods. At the edge of the road a river flowed towards plugged drains. We pushed aside the leaves and debris that blocked its path and watched as it rushed down the open grate. I wished I had my camera with me; I really need a waterproof case for it so we can capture the wet moments too! In the forest we found puddles like small ponds and water rushing like streams along every path. It was as though everything around us, the very forest, was overflowing with water.
The children’s delight continued as they explored the puddles and streams. They stomped and splashed and lay down in the water, waving their hands through it, feeling its strength as it flowed over their mitts. We found some shelter under a still leaved tree and ate our snack together. I thought about bringing tea rather than water for us to drink. Our trek home was much slower. The rain too had slowed a little. The streams on the paths had disappeared, though the puddles remained.
On our way back the children noticed large earthworms that had emerged from the drenched soil. We knelt down to watch them and then A. carefully picked one up and, cradling it in her hand, carried it home with us. When we arrived I transferred the worm to a pie plate (with a bit of water added so it didn’t dry out), peeled the layers of soggy clothing off the children and then invited them to observe the worm at the table while I shook out their gear, squeezed out their mittens and dumped out their boots (we discovered that boots can fill up when we lay down in the water!).
The children gathered together around the worm, watching intently. They observed the way that the worm moved, stretching forward and then retracting its back end to inch ahead. They noticed that part of the worm was pink and part was “browny.” They were excited when the worm stretched up over the rim of the pie plate and out towards them. “He’s peeking at me!” they shouted. I invited the children to sketch the worm, which they were very pleased to do, although rather than drawing the worm, they drew pictures for him and proudly held them up and turned them around for him to see. It was fascinating to see how the simple act of bringing the worm inside changed the way the children observed and responded to it. They seemed to look closer, notice more details, personify and befriend the worm. As the children’s focus began to shift, we released him back outside.
And so our morning went… Then, as we finished our lunch, A. noticed a “mess” on the floor. I came over to investigate the wet spot on the carpet that she was pointing to and discovered that in fact there was a large puddle of water spreading out from beneath the loft. Upon further inspection, I realized that there was actually water spreading out from the centre of the building, moving in all directions and in some places was at least an inch deep! I tried to stay calm as my mind raced through the implications of what I was realizing was in fact a flood! That huge downpour of water had found its way right into our home!
What started as a fairly typical day ended up not being so typical after all, and so it is that our loft is in the process of being relocated to a new, much drier home.
To be continued…